Strike Watch Kogi teachers defied government directive to resume, here's why

The Kogi State Government hasn't fulfilled their end of the bargain with lecturers, so they are sitting tight too.

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Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state. play

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state

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The Staff of the Kogi State University and Polytechnic have defied the government's directive that they return to school.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said there would be no resumption until the demands of its members are met.

The schools reopened on the 5th of June after a 5-month strike over the non-payment of salary arrears. But now, even after the non-academic staff have resumed, the academic staff haven't.

Following the date fix by the government, the Joint Action Committee (JAC), a coalition of worker's unions, held an emergency meeting, after which it issued a communiqué on June 1.

In the communiqué, signed by its leader, Comrade Sunday Boluromi, JAC, read:

“JAC empathises with students, who have been at home for a long period. They should be reminded that JAC’s struggle is to save the soul of our education in the state.

And we hope that, at the end of this painful strike, tertiary institutions owned by Kogi State would be better positioned to turn out qualified graduates.

JAC is disappointed with government for its decision to prematurely retire some of our members. This is an outright violation of the extant Law of 65-year retirement age for staff of tertiary institutions.

“Consequent upon the heartfelt intervention of our Governing Councils, JAC graciously constricted its 31-point request to five irreducible demands. This action is geared towards suspension of the ongoing strike.

“We want salaries of all members, whether they are cleared or not, to be paid without further delay. The government must step up actions to provide the needs of each tertiary institution as submitted by their Governing Councils.

Government must also honour the joint resolution reached by its representatives and JAC on March 24, 2017, which include reversal of the new tax rates and refund of January 2017 excess tax to tertiary institutions.

“Our last demand is that, government must give definite date for the refund of excess tax collected from staff of Kogi State University and Kogi State College of Education. These are the conditions for peace and resolution of the crisis.”

About the disengaged workers;

The Government released a list of pardon list of workers it earlier disengaged. But JAC is still not impressed. He says it was wrong to sack them despite the fact that the management of the schools gave convincing reasons to keep them. T

The KSU chapter of ASUU, in a statement  titled: Between facts and fictions, said it would resist the government’s intimidation to coerce workers into resumption.

Its chairman, Dr Gbenga Aina, said government did not show concern towards ending the strike, adding that there was no assurance of payment of workers’ salaries.

Some interesting numbers.

The Government said 95% of workers' salaries have been paid. Dr Gbenga Aina on the other hand, says thats a lie.

Gbenga Aina said:

“From available records, 275 workers, which represent 53.19 per cent of the 517 academic staff, are still being owed salary arrears ranging from three to 12 months. This figure is made up of tenure, sabbatical, contract staff studying overseas and 2015 employees.”

Only 46.81 per cent of academic employees have received salaries up to March 2017. The promise by the government to pay N50 million monthly to offset Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) owed was reneged on last December.

The Students’ Union Government (SUG) leadership has called on the government and unions to resolve their differences and get the back in school.

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